Carsten Dahl: A Beautiful Blue Moment

Danish pianist Dahl and American trumpeter Tim Hagans evoke at times the modal explorations of Krzysztof Komeda and Tomasz Stanko

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Dahl has appeared on some 300 albums. Here, in what is one of his most vibrant and arresting releases to date, he heads up a freely and finely woven collaborative session of original pieces, some credited to Dahl and some to the participating quartet as a whole. The diversely imaginative swing, melodic phrasing and simultaneously rich and crisply cast dynamics of the Danish pianist and the American Tim Hagans (t) are complemented by sterling work from the Swede Johnny Aman (b) and Finland’s Jukkis Uotila (d).

Dahl and Hagans met at a jazz college in 2019, when they discovered they had some mutual musical passions and affinities. But this quartet had never worked together before a Copenhagen gig in August 2021 saw them play three sold-out concerts at the historic Montmartre club. The vibe was so good that the current, superbly recorded date just had to follow.

Hagans (born 1954) is a strong, distinctive trumpeter and a writer of striking quality who has been composer in residence at Jazz Baltica. His extensive CV includes work with Thad Jones, Stan Kenton and Steps Ahead, Maria Schneider, Gary Peacock and the NDR Big Band.

Old Voyage, A Beautiful Blue Moment, Ugly Transitions and The Starring Tim offer prime examples of Hagan’s assured and compelling range of tone and texture, line and space in music which – to my ears, at least – carries overtones of some of the classic melding of matters free and lyrical, extended and dynamically arched, to be heard in the pioneering modal explorations of Krzysztof Komeda and Tomasz Stanko.

A further (revivified and recast) historical dimension is evident in the delicious lopsided accents of Dahl’s finger-clicking Monk–Keys, while the pensive depths of the cross-phrased Behind Silence and the concluding, piano-led trio track A Beautiful Moment are served superbly by the sensitivity of Aman and Uotila.

Discography
Old Voyage; A Beautiful Blue Moment; A Whole Lot Of Half-Notes; Ugly Transitions; The Starring Tim; Monk–Keys; Behind Silence; New Voyage; A Beautiful Moment (43.37)
Dahl (p); Tim Hagans (t); Johnny Aman (b); Jukkis Uotila (d). Copenhagen, 29 August 2021.
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